Bree Timmins Sianoa Smit-McPhee
Breanna 'Bree' Timmins 2005-2007
Lived: 26 Ramsay Street, West Waratah Caravan Park
Parents: Greg and Brenda Baxter (biological); Kim and Janelle Timmins (adoptive)
Siblings: Dwayne, Brandon, Dylan, Scott [Stingray] and Janae (adoptive)
Family Tree: Timmins/Baxter
Introverted bookworm Bree managed to buck the trend of the Timmins family by generally being quiet and considerate of others. As the youngest of Kim and Janelle’s six children, Bree often found herself escaping from the chaos into her imagination. She soon discovered that reading also provided a good distraction from her family, although the only books she could get her hands on were trashy novels. Nonetheless, this gave her a stronger start in life than her siblings and, despite having missed six months of schooling before arriving in Erinsborough, she soon showed a great deal of talent, especially in reading and writing.
Bree arrived in Erinsborough with her older sister Janae, the two of them having been summoned there, from their home town of Colac, to join their mother and brothers. Janelle had found herself work as an apprentice hairdresser and wanted to reunite everyone and try to be a proper family for once. After being thrown off their bus to Erinsborough, Bree and Janae were forced to hitch a ride, with the younger girl spinning a story to the driver about her brothers – siamese twins – needing an urgent operation. Her stories continued as she met neighbour Summer Hoyland. Bree explained that she didn’t go to school any more, as she was too smart, and had to stay at home as she had an incurable disease. Fortunately, the Timmins family’s landlady, Lyn Scully, quickly realised that the two girls needed to be enrolled in school and Bree started at Erinsborough High, where she managed to spin more yarns to Summer. Summer’s older brother, Boyd, had recently been misdiagnosed with adolescent schizophrenia, and Bree managed to convince Summer that it wouldn’t be long before she succumbed too. Luckily, teacher Susan Smith was on hand to repair the damage, but it made her realise that Bree needed some more positive stimulation for her mind. She provided the young girl with several new novels to read and it gave Bree and Susan a new bond, which Janelle wasn’t too happy about.
When Lou Carpenter pointed out a poster for a national spelling bee in the General Store one day, Bree decided to enter. Janelle tried her best to be supportive, but was easily distracted, failing to truly see the point in the contest. However, as Susan and Lyn also began to help out, Bree looked like having a good chance of qualifying, until it emerged that Bree found it extremely difficult to perform in front of an audience and her typical reaction was to throw up. When Janelle found out that there was a cash prize of $15,000 for the national spelling bee, she suddenly started offering her support to her daughter, but this only made matters worse. Bree admitted that her mum made her more nervous than anyone and Janelle was horrified, but quickly twisted things so that Bree was the one left feeling guilty. As Bree qualified for the regional finals, she and Stingray tried hard to keep Janelle from attending, in order to increase Bree’s chances of winning. The plan worked; Janelle missed the contest and Bree qualified for the national finals, but her guilt led to her owning up to everything and Janelle realising how much her kids wanted her out of the way.
As the weeks built up towards the finals, Janelle attempted to find out from her kids what made her such a bad mother. Unfortunately, this backfired completely as Bree told her a list of her faults and they decided that it would be better if Susan accompanied Bree to Canberra. However, when the time came, Janelle decided that she’d like to take her daughter, in the hope of sorting out their relationship and they could go in the family’s new car, which Janelle had bought on her credit card. It looked like the Timmins women had very little choice about leaving when the repo man turned up on the doorstep and so they set off for Canberra with a couple of days to spare. During that time, Janelle managed to build a few bridges between herself and her two daughters and by the time they arrived at the finals, Bree decided that she wanted her mum to stay and watch. After knocking out all of the other contestants and spelling the word triskaidekaphobia, Bree was declared the winner. She offered the $15, 000 to her mum to help with the credit card debts, but Janelle decided that Bree could keep the money and the kids would just have to go out and get jobs. Soon after, Janelle realised that she was the only one to blame for the debt problems and she allowed her kids to keep all of their money from their work and the family set up a courier company, Speed Freaks, instead.
Meanwhile, Bree made a couple of new friends when siblings Rachel and Zeke Kinski started at Erinsborough High. The Kinski kids had always been home schooled, firstly by their mother, Francesca, and, after her death, by their father, economics professor Alex. As Alex started dating Susan, Rachel and Zeke spent a lot of their time in Ramsay Street and Bree took it upon herself to teach them how to socialise and what food, music and television shows were worth their attention. Although Rachel quickly accepted Bree’s lifestyle of sitting in front of The OC and eating pizza, Zeke struggled to adapt. Bree started to find Zeke frustrating and attractive in equal measures and she started to develop a crush on him. With Alex in Canberra for a few days, Rachel and Zeke spent more time at Bree’s house and the three of them stumbled upon a $1000 cheque in the grounds of Lassiter’s. After convincing Rachel to pay it into her bank account, they were quickly sprung when the bank manager contacted Alex upon his return and they were made to return the money.
Meanwhile, Bree’s relationship with Zeke took a step forward when he asked her to join him for a trip to Science Works to see the reptile exhibit. Unfortunately, when Alex went missing and didn’t turn up at work, Zeke forgot about the date as he waited with Rachel and Susan for news. Once Alex came home, Zeke rushed to the General Store to apologise to Bree and they arranged another date. Their evening went without a hitch, but as they sat outside Grease Monkeys and shared a kiss, Zeke devastated Bree by announcing that he hadn’t felt anything from the kiss so they obviously weren’t meant to be together. A humiliated Bree refused to speak to both Zeke and Rachel for several days, but the trio eventually patched up their differences.
Bree soon had other things to worry about when Dylan was amongst the missing, following a plane crash. The plane, organised for Lassiter’s 20th anniversary, had been heading to Tasmania, when it crashed into Bass Strait. As other members of the family started to freak out about the situation, Bree held things together and kept her feelings to herself. She was delighted when her father, Kim, arrived, having read about the plane crash in the newspaper. With Kim’s return, the Timmins children learnt the truth about their parents’ separation. It seemed that Kim’s parents had offered him money to leave Janelle and, when that hadn’t worked, they had agreed to provide the family and a home and Kim with a job anyway. Kim, however, had turned it down and, unable to cope with the guilt, walked out on his family. Bree was still delighted to have her dad around again and the pair had several discussions about what had happened. Unable to cope with her dad leaving again, Bree begged Janelle to allow him to stay, even threatening to go with him if he left, and so Kim was granted a reprieve. Meanwhile, Zeke proved to be a shoulder to cry on as Bree came to terms with the fact that Dylan wasn’t coming home, and the shared grief also cemented her friendship with Dylans’ girlfriend, Sky Mangel.
When Rachel started seeing older boy Jake Rinter in secret, it brought about the end of Bree’s relationship with Zeke. Bree was already unimpressed with Zeke’s inability to lie to the adults around him, so when he told Alex about Rachel and Jake, she’d had enough and dumped him. She quickly had other things to concern her, though, when Dylan turned up at his own memorial service, having been on the run since the crash. He and Stingray were then sent to prison for a crime they’d been set up for by Dylan’s old enemy, Roo, and Bree struggled to keep the family together. It looked like Kim was set to leave again, so Bree let down the tyres on his van and, with Janae’s help, convinced Janelle to give him another chance. As Christmas approached, Bree was also delighted as Summer returned to town, having moved away to boarding school some months earlier. Bree suddenly found herself caught between Rachel and Summer, as they competed for her attention. Unfortunately, Janelle’s advice, to play the two girls off against each other, backfired, and Bree was left friendless. After patching things up with both girls, Summer and Bree were forced to try and support Rachel when she learnt that her father had terminal cancer and only days to live. But there was better news for the Timmins clan as, following a confession from Roo, Stingray and Dylan were released and sent home just in time to celebrate Christmas.
With Rachel away in Belarus with Zeke and Susan, following Alex’s death, and Summer on a school trip to Europe, Bree found herself embroiled in her family’s problems once again. When Janae confided that her ex-boyfriend, Mike, had been diagnosed as HIV positive, Bree agreed to support her as she was tested, but also decided to tell Kim. Fortunately, the results came back negative and the family became closer than ever with the news that Kim and Janelle were going to have second wedding. Bree’s love life was also looking up when Zeke returned to town and she suggested that, despite him still refusing to talk, they should give their relationship another try. However, as she got closer to one Kinski sibling, her friendship with Rachel suffered. Rachel, desperate to rebel following her father’s death, started spending more and more time with Stingray, eventually kissing him. When Bree stepped in and tried to stop it from developing, Rachel decided that she no longer wanted to be her friend. Although the friends managed to patch things up – with some help from Summer, who was back in town for a visit - Bree still found it very difficult to understand Rachel’s feelings for Stingray but, as she realised that they were in love, her romantic side came out and she told her brother that she was happy for them, even though Stingray was desperately trying to ignore his feelings and avoid Rachel. Meanwhile, following the release of The Bogan’s Tipped Hair, Janelle was invited on to the chat show Rove Live to talk about it. She took Bree along for moral support, but during the interview, Janelle suddenly admitted that she hadn’t been the main author, and that Bree had done most of the work. The revelation sent sales through the roof, and Bree suddenly found herself in a whirlwind of interviews and book signings, her dream of becoming a published author having come true.
When she asked her father for a DNA sample for a school project, it was the beginning of a series of events that would change Bree’s life forever. When Karl got the results back, he was forced to tell Kim that he wasn’t Bree’s biological father. A furious Kim confronted Janelle, who protested that she had never cheated and so, after lying to Bree that the original tests had been messed up, the whole family had their DNA tested. The results were the same – Kim was not Bree’s father. However, a bigger shock was in store as they found out that Janelle wasn’t her mother either. Looking for answers – and getting none from the Colac hospital where Bree had been born – they tracked down Louise Fletcher, the midwife who had assisted with the birth. Louise admitted that she’d always felt uneasy about that night, as a big emergency had left her unsure about two babies and whether she’d tagged them properly. Louise gave Kim and Janelle the details of the other family, but they decided not to follow it up and not to tell Bree the truth. Soon after, Janae accidentally opened one of her mother’s letters, which was from Louise, and learnt the truth about her sister’s parentage. She gave her parents the ultimatum that either they tell Bree the truth, or she would. After several days of tension, Janae blurted it out to her sister, who got confirmation from Kim and Janelle. Bree was left in a state of confusion, but quickly made the decision that she wanted to find her real family. Although Kim and Janelle were anxious that they would lose their little ‘Breezer’, they agreed to drive her to Colac. However, once there, Bree suddenly changed her mind and realised that she wanted to remain a Timmins, and a relieved Kim and Janelle took her home.
When Bree found out that her image was proving to be too intelligent for the book-buying public, she decided to go for the sympathy angle in order to sell more books. She roped in Zeke to pretend to be Bree’s friend, Jimmy, the ‘Boy in the Bubble’ who lived in an oxygen tent at number 28. However, journalist Michelle Craig saw straight through the act and Bree’s reputation was further tarnished, leaving her looking not only like a precocious brat, but also a liar. Family problems reared their head for Bree once more, when the family found out that Kim had been running a pirated DVD business in order to pay for his re-wedding to Janelle. The police found out, and Kim was forced to do a runner, only moments after reciting his vows at Lassiter’s. To add to Bree’s embarrassment, Janelle then decided to take the blame for the whole operation – which Dylan had also been involved in – and lie in court. At first, she was happy to have just received a fine, but then she received a letter from the DVD distribution company suing her for $200,000. Desperate to escape from her family and their terrible behaviour, Bree’s thoughts once again turned to her biological family and she decided to go to their home. Once there, however, she found that the house had burnt down and the neighbours had no idea where the family had gone. An upset Bree told Janelle what she had done, and Janelle suggested that they put an advert in the newspaper, asking for her real family to get in touch. This also ended badly when Bree received a letter from her biological mother telling her not to try and make contact again.
Bree’s hurt and confusion spread to her appearance, and she started to experiment with her look in the hope of finding an identity she was comfortable with. After trying a blonde wig and sunglasses, Paris Hilton style, she finally settled on a black wig, make-up and clothes and became a goth. Although more comfortable with her appearance, her emotions were still eating her up and she ended up at a support group for recently bereaved people. She spoke of her feelings over her father’s “death”, but was overheard at the one of the meetings by Sky, who had arrived early for an antenatal class. Sky made Bree quickly realise that she still had people around her who loved her and, although they weren’t blood-related, they were still her family. However, when Bree intercepted a letter from Kim containing money for the family and, when Stingray and Zeke found out about it, they tried to convince Bree to own up, but agreed to keep it from Janelle, worried that she would just get her hopes up about Kim returning again.
Soon after, Bree was giving a public reading of The Bogan’s Tipped Hair when she met her biggest fan, a blind girl named Anne Baxter. Anne quickly ingratiated herself with Bree’s family and friends, though Janelle was uncomfortable around her, and, when she found a tape recorder in Anne’s bag which mentioned how she was desperate to get to know the Timminses. When Anne caught Bree listening to the recording, she raced out of the house and was almost run down by the Timminses’ neighbour, Harold Bishop. After they had all calmed down, Anne admitted that it was just her way of keeping a diary but Janelle still wasn’t happy having the newcomer under her roof, but later admitted that it was due to Anne’s disability and, after Anne bought her a Daryl Braithwaite CD, agreed to give her a chance. Bree first noticed a sign of Anne’s odd behaviour when Anne tried to interfere in her relationship with Zeke, sending him a letter, pretending it was from Bree. The letter claimed that Bree was in love with Zeke and Anne explained that she had done it to stop Zeke from feeling insecure. Although the plan worked and it moved Bree and Zeke’s relationship onto more stable ground, Anne admitted, in front of Zeke, that she wrote the letter, and Bree was left confused by her new friend’s motives for doing this.
Things only got worse for Bree when Anne suddenly transferred to Erinsborough High. During Keep Australia Beautiful Day, as the students were cleaning up the park, Anne fell victim to bully Kiefer Holt, and Bree was unsettled as Zeke raced to her defence. When Anne then “accidentally” started talking to Bree about the secret letters from Kim, unaware that Janelle was in the next room, it was the final straw and Bree told her that she never wanted to see her again. Anne was confused, but Bree came to the sudden realisation that Anne was trying to ruin all of her friendships and relationships and take over her life. Although nobody took Bree seriously, she was determined to make them see how manipulative Anne was. When Zeke, who’d finally had enough of his jealous girlfriend, agreed to take Anne to the school formal, instead of Bree, she turned to Sky for help. Sky, dressed in a suit and fake moustache, accompanied her as ‘Guy Dangle’ and the pair were the star attraction of the evening. A bitter Anne got her own back by feeding Zeke a sob story about how her parents didn’t love her and she’d never even been kissed. Zeke quickly kissed her and, once word got back to Bree, it was the end of her relationship with Zeke, and Janelle wasn’t too impressed either, telling Anne that stealing her best friend’s man was a low act and she was no longer welcome at their home. Later, Bree found Anne alone in the park, crying, and furiously turned on her, accusing her of lying to them all along and, even suspecting that Anne wasn’t really blind, throwing her stick away from her. After finding Anne sitting outside the Timmins house that evening, Lou brought her inside where she finally blurted out the truth – she was Janelle’s biological daughter, the baby Bree had been swapped with at the hospital.
The days that followed were difficult for Bree, as she tried to allow Janelle and Anne some space. She asked if she could stay at number 24 for a while, and started to worry that the Timmins family would forget about her, now that they had the ‘real Bree’. Lou assured Bree that blood ties weren’t that important – Bree had grown up with Dylan, Janae and Stingray and would always be their sister. When a dinner was held to welcome Anne to the family, Bree finally snapped and announced that she too wanted to meet her biological parents. Anne had been dreading that moment, as her parents were sure to be furious when they found out what she’d been up to, and offered to go on ahead and break the news to them gently. But, a few hours later, when they’d heard nothing from Anne, Bree and Janelle headed to the Baxter house, and found it completely deserted. When Bree called Anne to find out what was going on, Anne explained that her parents had reacted badly and they were on their way to the airport, before her phone was snatched away from her. Although Bree, along with her grandmother, Loris, who’d come to live with the family, searched all of Melbourne’s airports and even the ferry terminal, they had no luck in tracking down the Baxter family and Bree began to realise that she might never meet her birth parents.
The Timmins family was then torn apart by another revelation, as they found out that Stingray was the father of the baby Sky was carrying. During the months that followed, Bree started to lose all respect for her ‘soul sister’ Sky and, even after baby Kerry was born and Dylan was found to be the real father, Bree and Sky’s old friendship looked lost forever. However, when a stubborn Bree refused to attend Kerry’s naming day, she stood outside and overheard them naming the child Kerry Breanna Mangel and the friendship was restored. Bree also got back together with Zeke following his brief dalliance with Anne and their relationship was quickly tested when he bought her a kitten named Willow for Christmas, not realising that Bree hated cats. This problem was quickly forgotten when Zeke got caught up in a siege at the Hoyland house on Christmas day and, after Toadie was shot, Bree was just grateful to have Zeke back alive and well, and the pair agreed never to fight again. But the promise proved difficult for Bree to keep as she struggled to pretend that she was enjoying having Willow as a pet. And when he disappeared over the fence to the Bishop house and Harold adopted him as a pet, Bree decided that, if she could make Zeke think that poor old lonely Mr Bishop loved having the kitten around, she might be able to get rid of Willow without hurting her boyfriend’s feelings. Rachel quickly worked out what was going on, and Bree ended up pretending that she was allergic to cats, but it didn’t take long for Zeke to realise that he was being conned. He got his own back on Bree, winding her up for a few days, suggesting that she write a column about cats for the school blogzine, before admitting to Bree that he knew everything, and it was agreed that Harold could keep the kitten, who he’d renamed Tazzle.
Tragedy struck the Timmins family in early 2007 when baby Kerry was diagnosed with leukaemia. Although Bree suddenly felt like an outsider, as her bone marrow probably wouldn’t be a suitable match for donation, she, and most of Ramsay Street, had the tests, and Stingray and Dylan were both found to be matches. Dylan was deemed unsuitable, due to abnormalities caused by his exposure to toxic waste in 2005, so Stingray went ahead with the operation. Only weeks earlier, Sky and Stingray had started dating and, desperate to show him that his sacrifice meant everything to her, Sky arranged a blessing, before the operation, with Bree, having used the internet to become a high priestess of the planet Vorteon, performing the ceremony. Despite a few complications, the operation was a success and, a week later, Stingray was out of hospital in time for a street party to celebrate Janelle’s birthday. But a dark cloud was cast over the festivities when Stingray passed away suddenly, having suffered an aneurysm, and number 26 went into mourning.
In the months that followed, Bree found herself supporting Janelle and Sky through their grief, while her own relationship with Zeke came to an abrupt end as they both came to the conclusion that they were better off as friends. Meanwhile, Bree, and the remaining members of the Timmins family, were in for a shock when Anne suddenly returned to Erinsborough, having left her new home in Cairns, telling her parents that she was going to school camp. It wasn't long before Greg, Bree's biological father, followed Anne to Erinsborough but made it clear that he had no interest in getting to know Bree and simply wanted to take his daughter home. When Anne refused to leave, Greg retreated to the Scarlet Bar for a drink, and Bree followed, desperate to get to know him. It wasn't long before they were chatting, and Bree came to realise that there was somewhere in the world where she fit in, as Greg shared her love of reading and told her that she was the spitting image of his own mother. Their little chat made Greg realise that he did want the chance to get to know his real daughter, but the problem was that, with the Baxters up north and the Timminses down in Erinsborough, it would be difficult to meet up. It was then that Steiger, the local police sergeant whom Janelle had been dating for several months, suggested that he, Janelle, Bree and Janae move up to Queensland, which would allow them to be closer to the Baxters, as well as Dylan and Kim. Janelle agreed, but there were more surprises to come when Bree learnt that Loris' desire to help her find Anne and her sudden disappearance weren't just a coincidence - she'd been responsible for swapping the babies. Realising that this would tear apart her family, Bree opted to keep the information from Janelle and joined in as a farewell street party was held for the family, which ended with the surprise marriage of Janelle and Steiger. The family then left - without Janae, who decided to stick around in Erinsborough - in style, waving farewell to their friends and neighbours from a helicopter.
• Bree is a big fan of the novelist Philippa Martinez
• She is also a fan of the Brazilian soap opera Lust Na Vila
• Sianoa's father, Andy McPhee, has had several Neighbours guest roles including Marty Rolfe in 2007
Janae and Bree's Arrival
Janelle and Bree's Departure
Biography by Steve